According to a review by the SUN DAY Campaign of data recently released by the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission (FERC) and the US Energy Information Administration (EIA), solar, wind and other renewable energy sources (i.e., biomass, geothermal, hydropower) are now adding more than 2,250 MW of new generating capacity each month. For perspective, that is more than the planned generating capacity (2,200-MW) of the two reactors at the Vogtle nuclear plant in Georgia that have been under construction since 2013 and for which there is still no certain completion date.
According to the latest issue of FERC’s “Energy Infrastructure Update” (with data through October 31, 2021), utility-scale (i.e., >1-MW) renewable facilities added 18,255-MW of new generating capacity during the first 10 months of 2021 or an average of 1,826-MW per month. Separately, in its latest “Short-Term Energy Outlook,” EIA forecasts that small-scale (i.e., <1-MW), distributed (e.g., rooftop) solar will grow by about 5,100-MW in 2021 – or about 425-MW per month. Thus, utility-scale renewables plus distributed solar are now providing – on average – over 2,250-MW of new capacity each month.
Solar and wind dominated new US electrical generating capacity additions during the first 10 months of 2021 adding 9,604-MW and 8,580-MW respectively. Including new hydropower (28-MW), geothermal (25-MW) and biomass (18-MW), renewables provided 83.6% of all new generating capacity through the end of October. New renewable capacity was more than five times greater than that of natural gas (3,549-MW). There was no new nuclear capacity added in 2021 while new oil and coal capacity increased by just 19-MW and 11-MW respectively.